Interviews / Operations

Balancing the Grind with Karina Mansfield, SVP Operations A/NZ at KnowBe4

Karina Mansfield is the SVP Operations A/NZ at KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I have been in the IT industry now for 23 years, the last 16 of those have been in a variety of leadership roles traversing all industry verticals and sectors. My current role as Managing Director for KnowBe4, A/NZ is a very diverse one.

I am the accountable executive for the region and sit over a variety of functions and roles. Ultimately, I am accountable for customer retention and growth, supporting the organisation’s growth ambitions in the region.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

The day typically commences with a team sync to ensure we are all aligned and pushing in the same, and right direction towards our goals for the week and month ahead.

From there I could be doing anything from running sales pipeline reviews and forecasting sessions, to reviewing the Marketing strategy, which includes reviewing the plan and bolstering where needed. I will also often have 1 to 1 meetings with the team.

Currently my mornings are heavy with US meetings, which could include reviewing the P&L and performance for the region or syncing on marketing. Later in my day the Netherlands comes online and I will often have meetings with key stakeholders who support the business there.  

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, very much so. In fact, we have now formalised a hybrid working model here. KnowBe4 offers a great degree of flexibility, and typically we now have people working from the office two days per week.

We have spent the last 12 months working remotely of course, but given the rapid expansion of the business and team here, it is proving very beneficial to have people back working together a couple of days a week.

Personally, this really helps me to juggle the multiple demands of my life having two young boys. The boys are now at an age where extra-curricular activities are ramping up, and having this flexibility allows me to be present more when they return from school, for example.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Well, a flexible, hybrid working arrangement has really helped here, and I have been fortunate to have a degree of that in my roles since having a family, even if it was working one day a week from home.

One of the key challenges I have had to get on top of is the delineation between work and home, and ensuring I log out and switch off when working from home at a reasonable time.

This way I can still enjoy quality time with my family without distraction. This is important for my own well-being also, as if I don’t do this, I typically wake up feeling tired and exhausted as I haven’t slept well.

Ultimately though work-life balance is different things to different people, and we all have different circumstances, so it isn’t one size fits all. For me it’s about ensuring I can be fully productive whilst at work, but be able to switch off at night and spend time with my family, and be fully present.

Exercise for me is walking, this can sometimes be early morning or sometimes it might be a quick walk to grab a coffee with the dog in the day. A circuit-breaker in the day is important, and I have got better over time at ensuring I do this. It also helps me sleep better, so I wake up refreshed and ready for a new day!

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Walking every day – it clears my head, and gives me some bonding time with my gorgeous dog.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Recently I have been listening to the Chris Helder books on Audible. He makes me laugh, and I find his pragmatic and no nonsense perspectives really refreshing and helpful, particularly around the paradigm of Useful Beliefs. I also enjoy and frequently use the Blinkist app for quick inspirational book grabs.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My Apple Watch – I love it! It really helps me to manage my activity during the day ensuring I’m not too sedentary. Even if it’s taking the dog for a quick 20 minute walk, it keeps me aware of my activity levels and moving.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I really enjoyed Gail Kelly’s (former Westpac CEO) book, Live, Lead, Learn, so I always love to hear more from her on this subject.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t try to be perfect at everything in your life, sometimes good enough, has to be ‘good enough’! The pressure of doing everything perfectly can really mount and cause undue stress, and it’s normally pressure we place on ourselves.

Additionally, be fully present when with others! Stay, and live in the moment, particularly when with family and friends.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.